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Sri Lanka Safari And Surfing In Singapore!

March 3, 2013

In Sri Lanka, we took a safari trip to Uda Walawe National Park, which is known for its 500+ wild elephants. We hit the park at dawn in order to see as many animals as possible. We love animal-spotting! We got up close to a lot of cool critters, including:

Painted storks

stork

Spotted deer

spotted deer

Wild peacocks (and peahens, of course)

safari peacock

Crested hawks

hawk

Jackals

jackal

Monkeys

monkey

And the main attraction, elephants

elephant

We even saw a tiny, one-month-old baby elephant!

baby elephant

Uda Walawe is about 3 hours away from Midigama by bus.  We spent two days away from Midigama to go on the safari, and then came right back in order to continue surfing and chilling out.

Our favorite chill-out spot was a brand-new café called Coffee Point, which served the best espresso in town, and also had lovely, lounge-y seating areas. We ate breakfast there every day (and sometimes had a brownie with ice cream the same afternoon!).

coffee point 1 coffee point 4coffee point 3 coffee point 2

One day, we took a trip about one hour away by bus, to see a snake medicine man and his collection of snakes. We rode the bus and then walked a few kilometers through farmland and tea plantations. The way was beautiful and full of interesting things to see:

tea field tea truck

Three young guys on a motorbike by the side of the road were kind enough to accompany us the whole way in order to make sure we didn’t get lost in the backroads.

guides

They pointed out cool stuff that we might have missed on our own, like this peacock that was doing a full mating display on the other side of a field we passed by:

wild peacock

When we reached the snake man’s place, it was even more interesting than we’d expected. Vipul is the third generation Ayurvedic snake anti-venom producer in his family. He’s only been bitten by cobras three times, but both his father and grandfather were bitten dozens of times.

vipul

white cobra

White cobra. Very menacing. Very venomous!

We were allowed to hold the non-venomous snakes.

up close and personal

i cant breathe

snake tiara

vaino and veera

Our friends, Väinö and Veera, sharing quality time with a boa constrictor.

Vipul had some other venomous animals in his collection.

tarantula scorpion

We got one more really fun swell before leaving Sri Lanka.

coconuts1coconuts2coconuts3coconuts4coconuts5coconuts6

After a month of surfing, reading, and relaxing on the lovely beaches of Sri Lanka, it was on to Singapore.

Have you been to Singapore? It’s a very modern place, with excellent food, public transportation, museums, and gardens. There are many, many diversions.

clarke quay

Clarke Quay area, with lots of bars and restaurants

We went to the excellent Singapore Art Museum, which showcases contemporary Asian art. The building is beautiful, and the exhibitions were all very interesting and witty.

painting boats

“A Fishing Harbour” by Wu Guanzhong

sticker buddha

“Excuse Me While I Kiss The Sky” by Gonkar Gyatso

Another great museum is the Asian Civilizations Museum. Again, gorgeous architecture and fascinating exhibits.

acm buddha acm bodhi tree

My favorite displays were these wooden idols and stone bench (photos below) from Nias island in Indonesia. I was excited to see cultural artifacts from an area that we’ll be visiting in a few weeks.

acm nias idols acm stone altar

We visited the new Gardens By The Bay, which is mostly free except for two indoor greenhouses. We went to the more spectacular of the greenhouses, the Cloud Forest (thanks, Ju!). The seven-level central “mountain” mimics a cloud forest ecosystem, with spectacular waterfalls and oodles of alien-looking plant forms.

waterfall walkway

orchid 2orchid 1weird flowerscarnivorous plant

My mum is staying in Singapore for the next few months to escape the cold in Canada, so we went to Ippudo together. Michael and I were missing the tasty ramen from Ippudo in New York. The food was as good as we remembered it.

ippudo mom

ippudo ramen

The ramen was so good that we forgot to take a photo until we were about 3/4 done!

ippudo rice

ippudo pork

After lunch at Ippudo, we went to Takashimaya‘s basement and tried all the free samples, as well as stopping by the Nespresso tasting bar for a free (and tasty!) cappuccino.

nespresso tasting station

nespresso

There are so many shopping centers in Singapore, even the monks do a little window shopping once in a while. That’s an iPad in the hand of the second guy from the left.

monks on orchard

We surfed the Flowrider at Wavehouse Sentosa, one of the many concessions at the crazy, amusement park/island called Sentosa. Who said there’s no surf in Singapore?! OK, it’s not so much similar to surfing as it is to snowboarding. Michael was a natural; he picked it up very quickly:

michael flowridermichael killing it on flowrider

Me, not so quickly:

del flowrider del falling on flowrider

One of my mum’s favorite things to do in Singapore is eat at the hawker stalls:

makan mom

It was Chinese New Year while we were there, so Michael got to do one of his favorite things, too: dancing in the street with drunk people in costumes.

cny drunkee

cny fun

cny out cold

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Ted & Elizabeth permalink
    March 19, 2013 9:38 am

    Charlie would be so proud of me; I even looked at the snake pictures. The time Charlie ran all the way across Dad’s balcony with a handful I was locked in the littlest room before he hit the sliding door. How lovely that you could visit with your mom. Keep up the great communications and stay well. Love, Elizabeth

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